1

(25 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Congrats everyone!
Thanks Tony for stick-handling this!

So Fed wins and Edu can be crowned R2D2 champ for the year... ANOTHER glorious victory for our local ubermensch.

Congrats Edu!!

So R2D2 now rests in the hands of Nishikori for me.  I'm in the unenviable position of needing the Glass Prince to beat KAnderson and then Federer.  Otherwise the crown goes to Edu.  His head must be getting heavy! smile

So R2D2 comes down to Arnie, me and (no surprise) Edu!  my last shot at glory for this year

Edu has me by 5 points and I'm 12 ahead of Arnie so far but we've got a lot of different match picks to settle the score...
Arnie has Simon over Thiem and Medvedev
Edu has Medvedev over Coric and Thiem
I've got Coric over Medvedev and Thiem
it's a nasty little section and any of the four players look like reasonable choices - surprisingly none of us picked Thiem to emerge to the QF

Other QF differences are
Arnie and I have Isner, but Edu has Khachs
Arnie and Edu have KAndy, but I have Nishikori
Edu and I both have Cilic, but Arnie has RBA

Moving to the semis
Arnie has Isner and Anderson
Edu has Zverev and Fed
and I have Zverev and the glass prince

If Arnie is still within 12 pts after the semis he can overtake with Isner as a finalist.  Then we all picked Djo to win

Huge Congrats to Edu!!

Aw shucks, Arvis.  Thanks.
back atcha...

7

(150 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Way to go, Tenedab!!
Truly impressive.

I'd like to point out that I finished 7th despite missing 7 tournaments, but I'd only be drawing attention to myself...

Things can only get better, right?

Goal for next year:  compete in all the tournaments and beat out HTS for most incorrect picks.

Arvis,
thanks for this, buddy.

  "Dwight finished with the lowest Overall pick percentage"

There I was consoling myself that I had the least incorrect picks in WTA brackets of the regular fantasy players (those with more than 75% of tournaments played), but I was just hiding behind the fact that I missed 7 tournaments this year.  So Arvis thank you for relieving me of that false notion and pointing out how totally out of touch, ham-fisted, and tone-deaf I was to the WTA this year. 

Excuse me while I go find a ham sandwich to choke on...

Very sorry to hear of your loss, Dtrain. 
I hope next year is WAY better for you, both on and off the fantasy-tennis-court!

Congrats TE and Drivers!

12

(16 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Great job Jaimie!

I can't believe how far out of it I am this year - I've been completely tone-deaf to the pulse of the game this year, it seems.

I still think the tied points allocation should split the available points, eg. 4-4-1 (instead of 5-5-1) so that extra points are not added into the system.  Finishing tied for first is not as unique as finishing there alone on top.  This is done in golf.  It's easy to see this makes sense if the points were dollars.  There's only so much money in the purse.

13

(56 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

I suppose Hewitt has had some success with DeMinaur, but I think we should see if Darth Lendl is available

14

(107 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Excellent!  thanks for checking! smile

15

(107 replies, posted in Other Tournaments)

Hi Ad,
there is an 8 point difference between your score for Dtrain in the Skywalker rankings and what appears on the site (and my own tally).  8 points is a bit tough to point to as one discrepancy.  How do we resolve this?  Can you check your calcs for Dtrain vs the site?

16

(8 replies, posted in US Open)

Murray becomes the second most picked player to exit (after Halep)

17

(13 replies, posted in US Open)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bDA91w … sp=sharing

18

(13 replies, posted in US Open)

It would also be neat to see the draw re-structured so that the 16 qualifiers showed up in predictable places in the main draw and the draw showed the other 112 players getting 3 rounds of byes.  (Actually I'd like to see 32 qualifiers with 96 players getting 3 rounds of byes.)

19

(13 replies, posted in US Open)

Hear, hear! Marco!!  I totally agree, there should be at least 32 seeds.

20

(8 replies, posted in US Open)

And Felix!  I forgot Felix... smile

21

(8 replies, posted in US Open)

Arnie, that was AWESOME!!  Thanks so much for always doing it!!!

Arvis, good-natured, light-hearted, and very insightful.  Huge thanks!

Marco, I echo so much of what you said.
My SCW picks are Barty, Sakkari, Anisimova, APavs, Muguruza, Mertens, Keys, Wozniacki.  Hey wait, that's a whole other team! 
On the men's side it would be Thiem, Tsitsipas, Raonic, AZverev, DeMinaur, and Fognini whom I wish I coulda somehow shoe-horned into my team.

No question that Djokovic achieving the Masters 9000 is amazing.
But he's not the first.

Lendl did it back in the days of the Grand Prix.  He won all 9, in actually 11 different locations. 

The Super 9 tournaments have moved around over the years, Madrid used to be Hamburg, and Shanghai used to be Madrid.  The ATP (or it's forerunner the Grand Prix) has always had 9 premier tournaments beginning in 1970.

1
The first biggie of the year used to be called the US Pro Indoor and was usually played at Philadelphia.  It lasted till 1986, and then in 1987 it was moved to Indian Wells.  McEnroe and Connors both won it 4 times and Lendl won it once, in it's last year of 1986.

2
The Super 9 tournament that became Miami started off in Sydney in 1970-71, then became the Alan King Classic in Las Vegas from 1972-81, then it became the WCT Tournament of Champions in Forest Hills until 1985.  Lendl won 5 of these in three locations, one in Vegas in 1981, two in Forest Hills in 1982 & 1985, and two in Miami in 1986 and 1989.

3
Monte Carlo is one of only two of the nine that haven't moved at all.  Lendl won it 1985 and 1988.

4
Rome also hasn't moved.  Lendl took it in 1986 and 1988.

5
The German Championships have a long and venerable history including being a Super 9 event for 31 years from 1978 to 2008.  Then the ATP in its wisdom decided it needed a big event in China and so bumped Madrid (which had the considerable clout of Ion Tiriac and Spanish tennis behind it) to spring and sent the Germans packing.  From 1975 to 1977 the US Clay Court Championships (Indianapolis, I believe) received premier designation, and from 1970 to 1974 it was played later in the year as the Pacific Southwest (PSW) Championships - which itself became the LA tournament. 

The PSW was close to being the fifth major for much of its career before the open era.  Begun in 1927, it recognized that increasingly the powerhouse behind US tennis was on the west coast.  For its first 29 years, every winner of the trophy was also a slam champion, including all the most illustrious names like Tilden, Cochet, Vines, Perry, Budge, Riggs, Kramer, Sedgman, Gonzales, Rosewall, and eventually Laver.  Big tennis has a long history in southern California and its thirst for top-level tennis and the spiritual clout of the PSW ended up moving to Indian Wells, although the chain of custody for Super 9 status followed a different pathway.  Only Hamburg was played during Lendl's era and he won it 1987 and 1989.

6
The Canadian Open has been a premier tournament for most of the open era, missing 4 years since 1970 in the reckoning of the big 9 tournaments.  In 1970 and 71 Johannesburg got the nod and Washington did in 1975-77.  The Canadian was also considered one of the 9 in 1975 so there's a year of overlap.  Lendl won the Canadian a record 6 times in 1980, 1981, 1983, 1987, 1988, 1989.

7
Cincinnati got premier status in 1981.  Before that there was premier status in Stockholm from 1970-80 but it was played later in the year.  Lendl won Cincy in 1982.

8
This is where the chain of custody starts to get really messy.  Mostly this was a premier tournament played after the US Open.  1970-71 and 1976-83 was in London.  1972-74 was Johannesburg, 1975 was the year of overlap between Boston and the Canadian.  Then big time tennis went back to Stockholm for 11 years 1984-94.  Next was Essen in 1995, and then Stuttgart in 1996-2001.  That German tournament was displaced by Madrid 2002-08 (remember that Madrid later booted Hamburg).  Then the tournament settled into Shanghai for what will be it's 10th year this year. 

Another way to look at this would be Stockholm from 1970 to 1994 with 1981-83 missing, followed by Germany, Madrid, and Shanghai, however the chain of custody does not follow such a 'simple' path.  Either way, Lendl won Stockholm in 1989.

9
This is slightly less messy.  It starts with Boston played 1970-77, but earlier in the year.  Then 1978-88 it was Tokyo, and starting in 1989 it switched to Paris where it's been ever since.  Interestingly the Paris indoor tournament has a long history dating to at least 1895, although it was played in early spring then.  Lendl won Tokyo in 1983 and 1985.


So there you have it, 22 premier 9 victories for Lendl across 9 tournaments in 11 different locations.
Other than Lendl and Djokovic, there are five men who have won 7 of the 9 tournaments by my reckoning:  Borg, Agassi, Federer, Nadal, and Murray.  By this accounting the 1000 title derby looks like:
33 Nadal
31 Djokovic
27 Federer
22 Lendl
19 McEnroe
17 Connors, Agassi
15 Borg
14 Murray
13 Becker
11 Sampras
everyone else in single digits

Arvis, that was insane picking from you!!  Amazing Bertens pick!!  Wow!!  The odds of that were so much worse than my Djoko pick... hats off to you!
(and nice write up!  I got at least 2 min of basking out of that!)

I wrote a piece on Tsitsipas for theslicetennis.com
A shortened version appears there, but here is the full text.

Stefanos Tsitsipas:  Best of the Next Gen?

Stefanos Tsitsipas has been ripping it up this summer, rising into the ATP top 15 after making the final of the Canadian Open, aka Rogers Cup in Toronto, beating four top-ten players along the way.  But he started the year in mid-pack of the burgeoning crop of Next Gen players, with a ranking of 91.  This exciting young cohort includes 19 year-olds Denis Shapovalov and Alex de Minaur, 20 year-olds Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz, and Andrey Rublev, as well as Felix Auger-Aliassime, the first 18-year old to make the radar.  A whisker older are Alexander Zverev, Borna Coric, and Jared Donaldson at 21.

Zverev has been the cream of the crop, claiming three Masters 1000 titles and the world #3 ranking.  He’s also the first of this generation to meet the 100-50-10 metric for predicting future greatness.  This metric for male players tallies his ranking at or near his 18th, 19th, and 20th birthdays.  To meet the standard he should be ranked about 100 on his 18th (not every player meets this criterion, but the other two are mandatory), ranked about 50 on his 19th birthday, and 10 on his 20th birthday or shortly thereafter.

Predicting Greatness

Every top player with 4 slams or a multi-year #1 ranking since Borg (the earliest player for which we have rankings), meets the criteria:  Borg, McEnroe, Lendl, Wilander, Edberg, Becker, Agassi, Courier, Sampras, Hewitt, Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic.  Some beat the standard by a year or two, like Becker, Agassi, and Nadal.  A few other notable slam winners also meet the standard:   Chang, Safin, Roddick, Murray, and Del Potro.  The most successful players who didn’t meet the standard are Kuerten and Wawrinka.  Both blossomed late and never really became dominant. There are only four players who met the standard but didn’t go on to become slam winners:  Jimmy Arias, Aaron Krickstein, Kent Carlsson, and Andrei Medvedev, all in the 80’s or early 90’s.

Zverev is the 23rd player to match the metric.  Odds are we are looking at a future slam winner and/or multi-year #1.  What he’s achieved at his age is typical of the very best.

The two Canadian youngsters, Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime, are also on track to greatness.  Shaps was #45 on his 19th birthday in April, and Felix is #120 and celebrated his 18th birthday last week.  Will they falter like Berdych and Gasquet who both met the first two legs of the standard but were a year late getting to #10, or will they become slam winners? 

So where does Tsitsipas fall?  He was #328 on his 18th birthday and was about a year late, getting close to #100 about a month after his 19th birthday.  He was about two-thirds of a year late getting to #50, and now he’s #15 on his 20th birthday.  If he should make #10 in the next three months he could still be on the path to greatness, although to be fair, till now he has not been meeting the standard laid down by past greats.

His year so far

But rules are made to be broken, and I like what he’s been doing this year.  In his first tournament of the year, Stefanos won four matches out of qualifying to make the quarter-finals in Qatar.  By March he’d made the quarters in Dubai.  That month he played his last Challenger for the foreseeable future.  In April he announced his name to the world by storming through Barcelona, knocking out four top-ten seeds, including then world #7, Dominic Thiem.  He arrived in the final and got thrashed by Nadal -2 and -1, and called it a good learning experience.

He then made the semis in Estoril and won his first main-draw slam match, at Roland Garros.  He upped the ante at Wimbledon by making the fourth round on what he calls his favourite surface.  Next he made the semis at the 500 in Washington, taking out Goffin.  But nothing prepared me for his run to the final of the 1000 in Canada.  He took out four top-ten players including Thiem, Djokovic, Zverev, and Anderson.

Again, he met Nadal in the final, but this time he put up much stiffer resistance and got to set-point in the second set.  But Nadal dug deep and ended it 6-2, 7-6.  Afterwards Nadal called Tsitsipas’s game “complex,” which has be considered high praise.  The kid is only getting better and he just turned 20 the day of the final.

His game

Stefanos has an impressive game, with a powerful, point-ending forehand, a decent serve that will only improve as he fills into his (so far) 6’4” frame, and no real weaknesses elsewhere in his arsenal.  He’s rangy and quick.  But his greatest gift might be his mind.  He stays calm under pressure.  He’s already learning to control his errors unlike many of his young peers, and he knows how to mix it up.  He’s made insightful comments about how intelligently Federer mixes up shot selection.

Intelligent choice has been part of Stef’s legacy.  Some of the media have attempted to nickname him Tennis’ Greek Freak (after basketball star, Antetokounmpo) or Tsitsi Fly, but he claims his nickname is ‘Stef.’  Stefanos’ father Apostolos is a tennis coach.  His mother was a top-ranked Soviet player, and her father was an Olympic gold-medalist in soccer in 1956.  His parents met at a tennis tournament at which she was a player and he was a line judge.  Apostolos became a certified coach and taught his son the game.

In an interview with Ubitennis, his father repeatedly stressed that it was Stefanos making the choices about his career.  Apostolos sees his role as supplying his son with as many tools as possible so that when the point of decision comes, he can choose wisely. 

Said Apostolos:  “I am aware of how complicated it is to push someone from a psychological point of view.  We can inspire children, motivate them, let them see the possibilities.  But we cannot make the decisions for them.”  “Children have great ability to explore and understand, but if one destroys this plasticity it is the end.  Children need to be free to decide.”  “Now tennis is his life and it is right for him to make his decisions for his life. … He must be free to explore, even beyond tennis.”

So when he was 10 or 11, Stefanos woke his father in the middle of the night and announced, “I want to become a tennis player.  I like the competition.  I like the challenge.”  And it was Stefanos who chose his one-handed backhand.  He used to switch between one- and two-handed.

The mind is the greatest weapon

So Stefanos is used to making his own choices.  It shows in the creativity he displays on court.  And it also means he’s in tennis on his own terms.  I’ve been impressed with his collected and placid demeanor during interviews in his run to what has been the biggest tournament of his life, last week in Toronto.  He was not overly excited, awestruck, or condescending.  Rather he seemed focused.  He was present to the now and what needs to be done next.

I’ve seen this before, this collectedness, in players like Pete Sampras and Rafa Nadal.  It’s self-assurance without arrogance, determination without hubris, consciousness of the path forward to a goal not yet reached.  It is perhaps Tsitsipas’ most impressive quality, this focus and solidity of mind.  Alexander Zverev has so far put up more impressive wins and numbers than Tsitsipas can match.  Both have complete games with no holes.  I don’t know if Tsitsipas’ talent is as deep as Zverev’s, but I like Stefanos’ head space.  And sometimes that can make all the difference.

Great update, Arvis!